Canadians could enjoy a four-day work week—and actually work fewer hours—without giving up income or sacrificing their living standards if worker productivity increases by two per cent per year for the next decade, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
“In light of the COVID lockdown, there’s been a lot of talk about a possible four-day work week in Canada, but to achieve a four-day work week where we actually work fewer hours while at the same time maintaining our current living standards, we need to be more productive,” said Steven Globerman, a Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Reducing the Workweek Through Improved Productivity.
The study finds that if worker productivity grew by two per cent per year from 2018 to 2030, Canadians could work four days per week—and not just longer works days—with no loss of living standards.
In fact, with two per cent productivity growth per year, workers would even enjoy an inflation-adjusted cumulative 1.5 per cent increase in income.
But is a two per cent annual productivity increase possible?
The study shows that from 2010 to 2016, productivity in Canada increased by 1.05 per cent per year, but looking back through recent history, two per cent annual productivity growth rates were common in earlier decades.
“If governments pursue policies that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, worker productivity will rise and Canadians will be able to enjoy more leisure time,” Globerman said.